Market research is an intensive, organized effort to collect data about potential customers and target markets: learn about them, beginning with who they are. It’s a vital ingredient of corporate strategy and an important determinant of market share. Market research plays a key role in all businesses, even if it is not practiced in the media or by politicians. If you don’t have a clue what’s going on in the business world, you won’t be able to get ahead. For that reason, many organizations conduct market research.
This may take the form of surveys, focus groups or interviews. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Surveys can provide insights that you might not otherwise get. Focus groups can be very informative and give you the opportunity to get to know individual customers on a one-on-one basis. However, they usually take a long time to produce meaningful results. interviews and user personas on the other hand, are quick and inexpensive methods of gathering information from actual users of products and services.
There are several advantages and disadvantages of using any of these methods. On the whole, market research conducted this way tends to be more qualitative rather than quantitative. Qualitative data are gathered from interviews or focus groups and hence it is more prone to missing the common behavior patterns and nuances among people. On the other hand, quantitative data is easier to collect and easy to analyze and measure in terms of its value to the firm.
A common market research methodology is to use customer satisfaction surveys and a customer journey map to identify the product categories that are most popular among customers. From this, a product concept and marketing concept can be conceptualized. The next step would be to conduct interviews or focus groups with customers and other executives from different companies. These interviews allow insights into common problems and issues facing customers and help in identifying business opportunities.
Another market research technique used is to organize surveys either by invitation or participation. In either case, focus groups can provide valuable inputs that would not be possible without qualitative interviewing techniques. Surveys conducted this way allow both companies and researchers to gain useful insights into the actual experiences of the target respondents. Although focus groups tend to provide limited and aggregate data, companies can get a lot from them and draw important lessons for future improvement.
Some companies also prefer to do market research on their own. In such cases, primary research and secondary research are required. The first kind of market research involves collecting data from primary research, which is conducted by researchers who have not yet launched new products or services. This is undertaken to assess current product features, target customers, demand, competitive landscape and other important issues related to new products. The second kind of market research involves collecting data from secondary research, which is conducted by researchers who have already launched new products or services. This is undertaken to assess the performance of the company’s new product.